Tag Archives: aguero

Sergio Aguero apologises for stamp on David Luiz

Aguero apologises to Luiz for two-footed stamp in FA Cup semi-final win over Chelsea

By
Laurie Whitwell

PUBLISHED:

21:35 GMT, 16 April 2013

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UPDATED:

00:27 GMT, 17 April 2013

Sergio Aguero has apologised to David Luiz for his two-footed stamp on the Brazilian defender during Manchester City’s FA Cup semi-final win over Chelsea.

The Argentine escaped a three-match ban after Chris Foy missed the horror tackle and the FA ruled the incident could not be re-refereed.

Influential: Sergio Aguero played a key role in Manchester City reaching thee FA Cup final

Influential: Sergio Aguero played a key role in Manchester City reaching thee FA Cup final

Luiz had called on Aguero to say
sorry and the striker tweeted: ‘I’ve contacted @DavidLuiz_4 and
apologised for what happened during the match. It was an impulse
reaction that shouldn’t have happened.’

The victim responded: ‘Thank you
@aguerosergiokun for a demonstration of character. We get to know great
man and athletes this way.’

Luiz suffered no serious harm in the
challenge and played on until the end of the match – but in the
aftermath did call on his fellow South American to apologise.

Over the top: But Aguero has apologised to David Luiz

Over the top: But Aguero has apologised to David Luiz

The defender said: 'Aguero is a great player but he needs to be honest with himself and say, “I don't like to do bad tackles”.

'Kids see the game and they want to
see the good things and not the bad – I would apologise. Football is
beautiful, but sometimes in games people have five seconds like that – I
forgive him because I have a good heart. I don't like to beat people.

'Sometimes in a game people have five
seconds when they are angry and do things they don't like to do. I
think it was that. I never saw Aguero do a bad tackle on other players.'

City won 2-1 after goals from Samir Nasri and Aguero when only Demba Ba could score for Chelsea.

Vincent Kompany "race taunt" to be investigated by Greater Manchester Police

Police to investigate Kompany 'race taunt' after City skipper leads side to derby win

By
David Kent

PUBLISHED:

08:02 GMT, 10 April 2013

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UPDATED:

10:58 GMT, 10 April 2013

Police are investigating post-match footage to determine whether Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany was racially abused after his side's win over rivals United.

Greater Manchester Police say they have received no complaints from either club but were made aware of the footage by local newspaper Manchester Evening News.

Kompany was being interviewed with team-mate James Milner by Sky Sports' Geoff Shreeves when a man can be heard shouting in the background.

Scroll down for video

Victorious: Police are investigating footage of Vincent Kompany's post-match interview

Victorious: Police are investigating footage of Vincent Kompany's post-match interview

A police statement released on
Tuesday says 'the force will work with both clubs and review any footage
to investigate the incident.'

City had previously closed the gap on
Premier League leaders United to 12 points with victory at Old
Trafford, as goals from Milner and Sergio Aguero sealed their win.

Ugly scenes had marred United's
victory at the Etihad in the corresponding fixture on December 9 when
players of the visiting side, including Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand,
were pelted with coins after Robin van Persie's winning free-kick.

Dominant: Kompany (right) guided his side to another Premier League win at Old Trafford

Dominant: Kompany (right) guided his side to another Premier League win at Old Trafford

Match winner: Sergio Aguero celebrates his brilliant winning goal at Old Trafford

Match winner: Sergio Aguero celebrates his brilliant winning goal at Old Trafford

See moment Vincent Kompany may have been racially abused

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Manchester City squad ordered in for extra training by Roberto Mancini – PICTURES

Push for the burn, Carlos! Mancini orders City squad in for extra training in hope that hard yards can help overhaul United's lead

By
Paul Collins

PUBLISHED:

17:57 GMT, 20 February 2013

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UPDATED:

17:59 GMT, 20 February 2013

Manchester City players have been put through a double training session today as Roberto Mancini bids to keep his side in the title race.

City's grip on the crown they won so spectacularly last summer is loosening at a worrying rate, and they trail rivals Manchester United by 12 points.

Wednesday's extra workout came at the expense of a Champions League knockout clash after the Premier League champions finished bottom of their group before Christmas.

Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Carlos Tevez and Maicon were among the players putting in a shift in the gym before they moved outside to challenge a specially installed steps.

You could see it was ideal preparation for the mountain City have to climb in the league.

More to follow.

That's a bit steep: Carlos Tevez leads the charge up a slope as Manchester City's squad are made to work

That's a bit steep: Carlos Tevez leads the charge up a slope as Manchester City's squad are made to work

Having fun Argentina striker Sergio Aguero manages to keep a smile up during his strength work

Having fun Argentina striker Sergio Aguero manages to keep a smile up during his strength work

On yer bikes: Midfield duo David Silva (right) and Yaya Toure put in some work at the gym

On yer bikes: Midfield duo David Silva (right) and Yaya Toure put in some work at the gym

At a stretch: Right back Pablo Zabaleta works on a mat in the gym at Carrington

At a stretch: Right back Pablo Zabaleta works on a mat in the gym at Carrington

Maicon keeps fit on the exercise bike (well, it's not as if he does much running on the pitch these days...)

Maicon keeps fit on the exercise bike (well, it's not as if he does much running on the pitch these days…)

Jan Vertonghen: Tottenham not finishing in top four is failure

Qualify for Champions League or we're failures, says Vertonghen

By
Rik Sharma

PUBLISHED:

17:04 GMT, 18 January 2013

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UPDATED:

17:22 GMT, 18 January 2013

Jan Vertonghen says Tottenham will have underachieved if they do not qualify for next season's Champions League – and insists Spurs can win the title in the future if they keep their squad together.

The defender has adapted well to English football and is a firm part of Andre Villas-Boas' regular starting line-up.

Vertonghen, who should play against Manchester United at White Hart Lane told the Evening Standard: 'We have one of the best squads in the League, we’re in the top four now and we can stay there.

Aiming high: Jan Vertonghen says not finishing in the top four is underachieving

Aiming high: Jan Vertonghen says not finishing in the top four is underachieving

'Of course, there are exceptional players elsewhere, Wayne Rooney, Van Persie, David Silva, Sergio Aguero, and at Chelsea as well. But we have 25 very good players, too.

'We can stay together, especially if we’re playing in the Champions League. I hope, one day, we can win the title. We’re capable of it but we need Champions League football to keep the good players here.

'Everyone wants to play in the competition and that’s what you saw with Luka Modric (who joined Real Madrid last summer), I guess. It’s important for the club, not a real disaster if it doesn’t happen, but important for the future.

'It would feel an underachievement if we didn’t do it (finish in the top four).

'We really want to play in the Champions League and I think we have the squad to get there.'

Their bid to re-join Europe's elite was hampered by the news that midfielder Sandro will be out for the remainder of the season.

The Brazilian had surgery on Tuesday after sustaining the injury in last weekend's 0-0 draw at QPR and is expected to miss the next six months.

And Sandro tweeted this picture of his leg following his operation accompanied with a defiant message.

In stitches: Sandro tweeted this picture of his leg on Friday

In stitches: Sandro tweeted this picture of his leg on Friday

'I've already overcome many obstacles… This is just one more,' he wrote.

Sandro has played an instrumental role
for Spurs so far this season, but Villas-Boas believes his squad boasts
enough quality to compensate for the midfielder’s absence.

He said: ‘The player is going to be out for the rest of the season. With any injury like that you’re looking at around six months out.

Ruled out: Andre Villas-Boas will miss the dynamic midfielder

Ruled out: Andre Villas-Boas will miss the dynamic midfielder

‘We were positive regarding his cruciate ligament, even during the initial assessment, because we felt there wasn’t a complete tear, but the ACL ligament and has torn completely; his lateral meniscus, too.

‘I think we will be fine. The only thing
we have done so far is to hold on to our midfielders. Jake’s
(Livermore) possible loan to another club (QPR) isn’t out of the
question, but we will hold on to that possibility. Scott Parker coming
back is a major boost.

Parker’s comeback from an achilles injury has come at a good time, while Spurs will wait until the end of the transfer window to decide whether to allow Livermore and Tom Huddlestone out on loan.

Jamie Redknapp"s team of season so far… more Stoke players than Manchester City, Chelsea, Spurs or Arsenal!

My team of the season so far… and why I've picked more Stoke players than from City, Chelsea, Spurs or Arsenal!

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UPDATED:

11:47 GMT, 31 December 2012

Sportsmail's dream teams

Click below to read:

Neil Ashton's London 2012 team

Martin Keown's Arsenal/Spurs XI

Dominic King's Mersey stars of 2012

It's never easy picking these teams – and I'm sure you'll tell me where I'm going wrong!

How can I possibly leave out the exciting and entertaining Santi Cazorla or the powerful and productive Marouane Fellaini Both would get into most teams, but I would argue I have better players and I need to have some balance too.

Joe Hart is, in my opinion, the best goalkeeper in the world, but he has not been in the best form – and nor has Manchester United's David De Gea. Stoke have been defensively excellent and their goalkeeper, who may well move to a bigger club soon, has been very good. And so has their captain, Ryan Shawcross.

Santi Cazorla

Marouane Fellaini

You're out: Sorry Santi, sorry Marouane… there's just no room in my team for you two!

And here's how it breaks down, team-by-team…

Stoke – 2 players
Manchester United – 2 players
Swansea – 2 players
Manchester City – 1 player
Everton – 1 player
Chelsea – 1 player
Liverpool – 1 player
Spurs – 1 player

If you had told me at the start of
the season, I would be picking a half-term team with more Stoke players
than Manchester City, Chelsea, Spurs or Arsenal, I would have asked for
the smelling salts.
Swansea too have two players, as do Manchester United.

There are no Arsenal players in my XI. No Wayne Rooney. No Sergio Aguero, or David Silva.
But my team has goals: Michu in midfield, Bale, Suarez and Robin van Persie in attacking positions and Michael Carrick to supply the passes.

I have two attacking full-backs, including the excellent Leighton Baines. Imagine Baines, Bale and Mata lining up for a free-kick.

So here's my line-up (4-3-3) …

Goalkeeper:
Asmir Begovic (Stoke)

Asmir Begovic

Defenders (right-left):
Pablo Zabaleta (Man
City)
Ashley Williams (Swansea)
Ryan Shawcross (Stoke)
Leighton Baines (Everton)

Pablo Zabaleta

Ashley Williams

Just try and get past this fab four: (clockwise from top left) Zabaleta, Williams, Baines, Shawcross

Ryan Shawcross

Leighton Baines

Midfielders:
Michael Carrick
(Man United)
Michu (Swansea)
Juan Mata (Chelsea)

Passed it: Michael Carrick

Passed it: Michael Carrick

Michu

Goal threat: Michu

Juan Mata

Spain in the neck: Juan Mata

Attackers:
Gareth Bale (Spurs)
Luis Suarez
(Liverpool)
Robin van Persie (Man United)

Gareth Bale

Luis Suarez

Fearsome: Bale, Suarez and Van Persie would form a mouthwatering forward line in my dream team

Robin van Persie

Roberto Mancini praises Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko

Not so soft anymore! Mancini talks up fire power of Aguero, Dzeko and Tevez just days after slating City's strikers

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UPDATED:

00:33 GMT, 31 December 2012

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini is in no doubt his strike trio can fire the champions towards the Barclays Premier League title again.

Edin Dzeko was recalled to the starting XI at Norwich on Saturday and repaid his manager's faith with a quick-fire brace to put the visitors 2-0 up inside four minutes.

Argentina forward Sergio Aguero was also on target in the 4-3 win, which was achieved despite the dismissal of midfielder Samir Nasri and kept City seven points behind leaders Manchester United.

Clinical: Sergio Aguero scored Manchester City's third against Norwich

Clinical: Sergio Aguero scored Manchester City's third against Norwich

Carlos Tevez was left warming the bench at Carrow Road, but could come back into contention for the home game with Stoke on New Year's Day.

Mancini believes the ability to switch between such a potent frontline will be key for the battles ahead.

'We changed against Norwich because we played three games in six days and needed to have fresh players, but we are sure that all of our strikers can start to score like they did here,' he said.

'We have won games with Carlos and Aguero, Edin and Carlos, Aguero and Edin; all these three players, if they work hard like this, they can score important goals for the season.'

The Italian had slated his strikers, and labelled them 'soft', for failing to score against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Boxing Day.

Mancini insists the current seven-point gap to United is 'not a problem', bearing in mind the position from which City went on to beat their fierce rivals in the dramatic conclusion to last season.

Lethal: Edin Dzeko scored twice to add to Aguero's chip

Lethal: Edin Dzeko scored twice to add to Aguero's chip

Slammed: Roberto Mancini's criticism of his strikers clearly paid off

Slammed: Roberto Mancini's criticism of his strikers clearly paid off

And Dzeko believes 'nothing is finished' after feeling he went some way to proving a point against Norwich.

The Bosnian, who has often been utilised as an impact player from the bench, was unfortunate not to have sealed his industrious display with a hat-trick on 67 minutes, when his shot hit the post and then went into the net off the back of Norwich goalkeeper Mark Bunn.

'It is not the first time, but the manager gave me the chance to play and I think I paid him back,' Dzeko said. 'We will see what the future brings.'

Open: Mancini (left) believes City can claw back the seven points to catch Manchester United at the top

Open: Mancini (left) believes City can claw back the seven points to catch Manchester United at the top

Manchester City face Norwich after scoring 11 goals against them last season

Cheer up City, you had a grand old time against Norwich last year

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UPDATED:

16:57 GMT, 28 December 2012

If anything can rekindle the memories for Manchester City fans of their glorious title-winning campaign last season, it has to be the 6-1 away win… at Carrow Road!

Mancini’s men repeated their famous drubbing of Manchester United at Old Trafford in October by racking up another half a dozen goals in East Anglia in April.

It took City’s tally against Norwich to 11 goals in two games after a 5-1 win at the Etihad Stadium in December, at which point they were five points clear of United.

Awesome: Tevez scored a hat-trick at Carrow Road last year

Awesome: Tevez scored a hat-trick at Carrow Road last year

Forgiven: The Argentine fell out with Mancini during a Champions League match against Bayern Munich

Forgiven: The Argentine fell out with Mancini during a Champions League match against Bayern Munich

Good job: It was the second 6-1 win on the road for City last season

Good job: It was the second 6-1 win on the road for City last season

Hole in one: Tevez celebrates scoring with a golf swing

Hole in one: Tevez celebrates scoring with a golf swing

Things just haven’t clicked for the champions this season and their hopes of back-to-back titles are hanging by a thread as they trail United by seven points.

But City are also out of Europe altogether and have found goals hard to come by as they’ve netted just 34 goals in comparison to 53 at the same stage last season.

It took an injury-time winner from Gareth Barry last Saturday to beat Reading, the team with the worst defence in the league, before they fired blanks in their Boxing Day defeat to Sunderland.

But a visit to Carrow Road might be just what the doctor ordered for City fans after Carlos Tevez’s hat-trick, two goals from Sergio Aguero and a late strike from Adam Johnson, who scored the winner against City on Boxing Day, saw them to a massive win on their way to the Premier League crown last term.

Unstoppable: Tevez and Argentine partner Aguero scored five goals

Unstoppable: Tevez and Argentine partner Aguero scored five goals

Sergio Aguero of Manchester City celebrates scoring

Carlos Tevez of Manchester City celebrates scoring

Having fun Mancini was all smiles during his team's dominant performance

Having fun Mancini was all smiles during his team's dominant performance

Can we play you every week City also hammered Norwich 5-1 at the Etihad

Can we play you every week City also hammered Norwich 5-1 at the Etihad

Adrian Durham: Useless Liverpool need Jamie Carragher, make Arsenal play at Stoke on Boxing Day

Keepers make mistakes so back off England's undisputed No 1 Hart… Useless Liverpool need Carragher… And make Arsenal play away on Boxing Day (at Stoke)

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UPDATED:

09:52 GMT, 27 December 2012

I hope Joe Hart didn’t bother looking at Twitter on Boxing Night. According to some tweeters, he became the first top class goalkeeper to ever make a mistake. Every goalkeeper in history has made mistakes.

From a Manchester City point of view I’d be more worried about Aguero and Tevez failing to score again. From an England point of view the question is whether Joe Hart has been dislodged from his position as the number one keeper

The only realistic contender is Fraser Forster (who made a mistake earlier this season against Kilmarnock). I rate Forster very highly and I've always been puzzled why he never received an Under 21 call-up.

Jeepers keepers: Joe Hart was caught out of position for Adam Johnson's winner for Sunderland at the Stadium of Light

Jeepers keepers: Joe Hart was caught out of position for Adam Johnson's winner for Sunderland

Hart hurts: The Manchester City No 1 was consoled after the defeat

Hart hurts: The Manchester City and England No 1 was consoled after the defeat

Follow Adrian Durham on Twitter – @talkSPORTDriveCLICK HERE TO READ ADRIAN'S DEBUT COLUMN FOR SPORTSMAIL

Thankfully, his ability has now been recognised by Roy Hodgson and he's now in the England squad, although yet to make his debut.

I first noticed Forster when he had a season on loan at Norwich and helped them win the League One title in 2010.

He broke records for keeping clean sheets and was voted player of the season by his Norwich team-mates. He was superb that season.

Able deputy: Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster provides competition for Hart's England jerseyAble deputy: Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster provides competition for Hart's England jersey

Able deputy: Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster provides competition for Hart's England jersey

He was also sent off against Gillingham,
and gifted Leeds a last-minute winner when the two sides met. I’m not
criticising Forster, I’m just highlighting the fact that all goalkeepers
will make mistakes.

I hope Hodgson gives Forster some minutes on the pitch when England meet Brazil in a friendly at Wembley in February.

But let's keep it real – Joe Hart is the undisputed No 1 with the current English champions. England fans should be proud of him.

USELESS LIVERPOOL NEED CARRAGHER

I see Liverpool were useless again. There has been a lot said about Brendan Rodgers being short of firepower, with Luis Suarez the only recognised striker at the club.

But I’m wondering what’s happening at the other end of the pitch Liverpool have conceded eight goals in their last four games, and the goals Stoke scored on Boxing Day were cheap to say the least.

Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel are the preferred partnership but they’re not doing their jobs properly and it’s costing Liverpool points.

Get back: Defender Jamie Carragher watched Liverpool's Boxing Day defeat by Stoke from the bench

Get back: Defender Jamie Carragher watched Liverpool's Boxing Day defeat by Stoke from the bench

Perhaps it’s time for Jamie Carragher to come back into the first team. Liverpool clearly need leadership at the back, and Carragher would provide that.

He celebrates his 35th birthday next month, so he’s not the long term answer. But stability at the back would help Liverpool right now, and give some of the younger players another respected pro to look up to in the dressing room.

MAKE ARSENAL PLAY AWAY ON BOXING DAY… AT STOKE!

I still can’t quite get my head round Arsenal Football Club's inability to stage a Premier League game on Boxing Day because of a tube strike.

They talked to the police and others before taking the decision, saying the 'paramount concern was always the duty of care towards the Arsenal supporters, West Ham supporters, matchday employees and everyone who was planning to attend the game.'

I went to Craven Cottage on Boxing Day
and had no problem getting to or from the game by car. Just up the road,
Queens Park Rangers also had a home game – combined crowd at the
Cottage and at Loftus Road was just over 43,000.

Capital gains: Fulham and Southampton managed to defy the London tube strike and play out a 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage

Capital gains: Fulham and Southampton managed to defy the London tube strike at Craven Cottage

Happy shoppers: Westfield Shopping Center was full to the rafters despite the tube strike

Happy shoppers: Westfield Shopping Center was full to the rafters despite the tube strike

Then throw in the thousands who packed Westfield shopping centre literally round the corner from QPR's ground and you start to realise the enormity of Boxing Day in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.

It doesn’t reflect well on Arsenal that they couldn't stage their game. They've had extra rest time, and the fixture will be played at the end of January when the Gunners may already have made signings in the transfer window.

The Gunners got what they deserved with Spurs, Everton and West Brom all winning and going above them.

The best way around this in the future (Arsenal also postponed this fixture last season) is to force Arsenal to play away on Boxing Day. Ideally at Stoke.

HODGSON MUST FOLLOW FERGIE'S LEAD AND KEEP FAITH IN CARRICK

I've always been an admirer of Michael Carrick and have struggled to understand why Sir Alex Ferguson has faith in him but no England manager over the past ten years has felt the same way.

Fergie has been successful, all those England managers failed miserably. You do the maths.

So I watched Carrick at Swansea put in his usual display of world class passing, and regularly breaking up play. Then in the 4-3 win over Newcastle, Carrick was roasted by his critics for giving the ball away in the build up to Newcastle's opener.

Keep the faith: Michael Carrick was instrumental in Manchester United's 4-3 victory over Newcastle

Keep the faith: Michael Carrick was instrumental in Manchester United's 4-3 victory over Newcastle

Those same critics were strangely quiet when Carrick found Hernandez with a precision pass for the winner. And, indeed, they said nothing when he poked an instinctive ball to set up Robin van Persie for his goal.

England have always struggled to keep possession, and yet one of the best passers of the ball in the Premier League has consistently been overlooked.

People only want to talk about Carrick's mistakes. That's probably why he rarely gets talked about.

Follow Adrian on Twitter – @talkSPORTDrive… Adrian hosts talkSPORT's Drivetime Show on weekdays between 4pm–7pm alongside former England cricketer Darren Gough

Sunderland 1 Manchester City 0 – match report

Sunderland 1 Manchester City 0: Old boy Johnson comes back to haunt Mancini as Black Cats take all three points

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UPDATED:

18:13 GMT, 26 December 2012

Adam Johnson came back to haunt Manchester City as the champions slipped to a third successive Barclays Premier League defeat at Sunderland.

The England winger, who was considered surplus to requirements at the Etihad Stadium during the summer and was allowed to join the Black Cats in a 10million move, embarrassed former team-mate Joe Hart with a dipping 53rd-minute strike which beat him at the near post and clinched three precious points for his new employers.

However, the winner was not without controversy with the visitors adamant they should have been awarded a free-kick for a foul on Pablo Zabaleta during the build-up.

Making the difference: Adam Johnson celebrates scoring against City

Making the difference: Adam Johnson celebrates scoring against City

Match facts

Sunderland: Mignolet, Larsson (Campbell 78), Cuellar, Kilgallon, Rose (Bardsley 88), Gardner, McClean, Colback, Johnson, Sessegnon, Fletcher.

Subs not used: Westwood, Wickham, McFadden, Vaughan, Bramble.

Booked: Colback.

Goals: Johnson 53.

Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Toure (Barry 86), Nastasic, Milner, Javi Garcia (Lescott 89), Toure , Silva,Aguero, Tevez (Dzeko 72).

Subs not used: Pantilimon, Sinclair, Rekik, Razak.

Booked: Kompany, Toure, Nastasic.

Attendance: 42,190

Referee: Kevin Friend

Latest Premier League table and results

Sunderland turned in one of their best displays of the season on a day when City played only fitfully, and Hart had to turn away Steven Fletcher's skidding effort and keep out Stephane Sessegnon 10 minutes from time.

However, if Johnson was the hero in front of a delighted Boxing Day crowd of 42,190, keeper Simon Mignolet deserved equal praise.

The Belgian denied Yaya Toure and David Silva before the break and Sergio Aguero after it to claim a precious clean sheet and make a huge contribution towards the win.

City arrived determined not to complete an unwanted hat-trick of 1-0 league defeats on Wearside and, after a lacklustre start, eased themselves into the game.

They might have been ahead with just eight minutes gone, but Vincent Kompany's header came back off the crossbar and Yaya Toure's goalbound follow-up was hacked away by Mignolet, who reacted instantly to deny the visitors an early lead.

Silva curled a 10th-minute free-kick
wastefully over the bat and Toure saw a curling effort plucked from
underneath the crossbar by Mignolet three minutes later.

Christmas cheer: Craig Gardner (centre) celebrates with team mates following his sides win over City

Christmas cheer: Craig Gardner (centre) celebrates with team mates following his sides win over City

Dejected: Carlos Tevez looks frustrated as City could not find a goal

Dejected: Carlos Tevez looks frustrated as City could not find a goal

City were pinning Sunderland deep inside their own half and it seemed only a matter of time before they made the pressure tell.

Mignolet had to be at his best once
again with 24 minutes gone after Carlos Tevez and Aguero combined to put
Silva in on goal, only for Mignolet to block his effort at close range.

But
seconds later Hart had to dive to his right to turn away Fletcher's
rasping left-foot drive and the Black Cats, buoyed after weathering the
early storm, started to force their way into the game.

Beaten man: Adam Johnson (not pictured) gets the ball past Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart

Beaten man: Adam Johnson (not pictured) gets the ball past Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart

Mixed emotions: The Sunderland players and fans celebrate as Hart and Kompany look on

Mixed emotions: The Sunderland players and fans celebrate as Hart and Kompany look on

Johnson was enjoying the better of his individual battle with Zabaleta, who played much of the half with a heavily bandaged head after suffering a cut, and as James McClean took up the theme, Martin O'Neill's men upped their tempo.

Kompany and Matija Nastasic had to repel dangerous crosses from Sebastian Larsson and McClean respectively, and Sessegnon flashed a header well wide from Craig Gardner's driven 42nd-minute cross.

In the wars: Pablo Zabaleta gets a cut after Steven Fletcher catches him with his boot

In the wars: Pablo Zabaleta gets a cut after Steven Fletcher catches him with his boot

Body on the line: Zabaleta has blood pouring from his head after the incident

Body on the line: Zabaleta has blood pouring from his head after the incident

Back in business: Zabaleta returns with his head bandaged

Back in business: Zabaleta returns with his head bandaged

Larsson drilled a late free-kick straight into the defensive wall, but he and his team-mates left the pitch at the break with their clean sheet intact and everything still to play for.

Sunderland picked up where they had left off after the restart as McClean and Johnson, with the help of Sessegnon and Fletcher, stretched City uncomfortably at times. It was they who took the lead with eight minutes of the half played.

City boss Roberto Mancini and Zabaleta were left appealing in vain for a free-kick for Gardner's challenge on the full-back, but Johnson picked up possession and cut inside before blasting in a dipping shot which caught Hart flat-footed at his near post and squirmed into the bottom corner.

Sessegnon might have doubled his side's advantage within two minutes, but pulled his effort across the face of goal with City in disarray.

Old boy: Former City winger Adam Johnson scored against his former side

Old boy: Former City winger Adam Johnson scored against his former side

Getting stuck in: Jack Colback and Matt Kilgallon challenge Manchester City's Carlos Tevez

Getting stuck in: Jack Colback and Matt Kilgallon challenge Manchester City's Carlos Tevez

Stopped in his tracks: Sergio Aguero is halted by Colback

Stopped in his tracks: Sergio Aguero is halted by Colback

The visitors were almost breached once again on the hour when McClean picked out Sessegnon in front of goal, but the Benin international could not take the ball in his stride.

Kompany, who had already been booked, was fortunate to escape a second yellow card for a block on McClean as City struggled to contain a Black Cats side growing in confidence by the minute.

But the visitors gradually regained their composure and started to move the ball confidently once again and Mignolet had to claim a 68th-minute Zabaleta cross at his near post after being played in by James Milner.

Eyes on the ball: Steven Fletcher and Vincent Kompany fight for the ball

Eyes on the ball: Steven Fletcher and Vincent Kompany fight for the ball

The Belgium international excelled himself once again two minutes later to deny Aguero one on one, but it was Hart in the firing line with 10 minutes remaining when Sessegnon was played in by substitute Fraizer Campbell with the keeper coming out on top.

City battered away at their hosts as time ran down, but with Sunderland defending deep and with tenacity, they simply could not find a way through and McClean almost served up the perfect finish with an 88th-minute shot which flew just wide.

Bad day: Roberto Mancini saw his side lose ground on Manchester United as they failed to win

Bad day: Roberto Mancini saw his side lose ground on Manchester United as they failed to win

Manchester City could be the new invincibles

We are invincible: Mancini's men can't match Arsenal's record but have the same mentality

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UPDATED:

22:10 GMT, 23 December 2012

Defeat in a dramatic Manchester derby earlier this month means that Roberto Mancini and his players can no longer match Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’, but it would be wrong to assume they do not feel invincible.

It has become a hallmark of Mancini’s Manchester City. There is something about the relentless way they pursue their objective that is typical of neighbours United and that celebrated Arsenal team of 2003-04.

They create the sense that a goal is inevitable, breathing belief into City and dread into their opponents.

Belief: Gareth Barry's (in blue, second left) late goal against Reading is the latest evidence of Manchester City's refusal to give up

Belief: Gareth Barry's (in blue, second left) late goal against Reading on Saturday is the latest evidence of Manchester City's refusal to give up

People will always remember the late efforts from Edin Dzeko and, of course, Sergio Aguero that clinched the Premier League title for City on goal difference in May, but the sort of mentality Mancini demands of his players has been a work in progress for some time.

Think back to last season. The late winners against Tottenham and Chelsea; the later equaliser against Sunderland. Without those points, the last-day heroics would never have been possible.

The trend has continued this season. Late goals in the first two games enabled City to pick up four points.

Dzeko’s last-gasp winners against Fulham, West Bromwich and Spurs could prove invaluable.

Super-sub: Late goals by Edin Dzeko (right and below) against Fulham, West Brom and Spurs have proved invaluable

Super-sub: Late goals by Edin Dzeko (right and below) against Fulham, West Brom and Spurs have proved invaluable

City are displaying that trademark of champions: a knack of winning without playing particularly well.

On Saturday, it was Gareth Barry’s turn to pop up in the 92nd minute and snatch a 1-0 victory over stubborn Reading. ‘You have to believe,’ he said.

‘Turning one point into three can be vital, and we’ve scored so many goals late on last season and again this year. They can be so important at the end of the season.’

Super-sub: Late goals by Edin Dzeko (right and below) against Fulham, West Brom and Spurs have proved invaluable

Kolo Toure recognises the signs.

The City defender was one of Arsenal’s Invincibles who went unbeaten to win the Premier League title, and he senses the same conviction within Mancini’s squad.

‘We just keep believing we will score,’ said Toure.

‘Teams coming here know we can score at any time. We’ve got that in our minds and the teams we play against know that as well.

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini

'Mancini time': Late goals have become a hallmark of the Mancini era at City

‘It was the same at Arsenal. We knew we could get the goal. We have the same mentality here. We never accept drawing or losing a game.’

Mancini marked his third anniversary in charge on Friday by talking about his success in changing the balance of power in Manchester.

Robin van Persie’s winner in the derby was a painful reminder that United still rule in ‘Fergie time’, but City are building an impressive record in what could become known as ‘Mancini time’.

Considering their strike rate in the last five minutes of games, it was staggering to see fans leaving the Etihad Stadium early.

‘We won the title in the last second,’ said Mancini. ‘We’ve also recovered a lot of games in the last three or four minutes.

'We know we can change every game right at the end.’

It earned grudging admiration from Brian McDermott but the dejected Reading boss criticised referee Mike Dean’s decision to deny his team a second-half penalty for Karim Rekik’s off-the-ball challenge on Jay Tabb and then to allow Barry’s header to stand.

A seventh straight Premier League defeat was cruel on Reading, although Nicky Shorey’s failure to challenge Barry for a magnificent cross from David Silva in the second of four added minutes made it difficult for Dean to award a foul.

McDermott said: ‘Manchester United notoriously score late goals. Manchester City scored a late goal last season which was quite important, apparently.

'That’s what top sides and top players do. But we didn’t deserve to lose.’

Furious: Reading manager Brian McDermott (left) gave grudgingly gave respect to Mancini's team but was angry at Barry's goal standing

Furious: Reading manager Brian McDermott (left) gave grudgingly gave respect to Mancini's team but was angry at Barry's goal standing